San Francisco, CA: Top Things to Know About Storage

Krista Diamond | Mar 09, 2016 @ 10:48 AM

Storage is Hard to Come By

Let’s get the most important thing out of the way: It’s tough to find storage in San Francisco. The demand for housing in the area is high as is the demand for office space. Almost a million people call The City home and all of them need a place to live and a tech startup to work at (Okay, not all of them work at tech startups; it just feels that way). The need for affordable housing is...well...we don’t want to say crisis, but we will say crisis adjacent. While we’re psyched to see people attempting to do something about the high cost of rent in San Francisco ($3,000 a month for a studio?), we’re sad to see storage facilities bite the dust in exchange for condo development. All we can say is, we hope at least a few of those condos are affordable.

So what does this mean if you’re looking for storage? You can expect steeper prices as a result of the lack of availability. You should also be prepared for the reality that you might not get the unit you want. According to the manager of a San Francisco StoragePro whose facility tends to stay at least 90% occupied, your best bet is to plan in advance. However, not all facilities will allow you to actually reserve in advance. While the idea of locking down a storage unit long before your move to San Francisco sounds good to you, it’s not in the interest of most facility managers who stand to lose money as a result of tenants who hold units and then cancel. As a result of this, some facilities will only let you reserve a spot a week in advance. We suggest you include at least three facilities in your search for storage if finding a spot in San Francisco is a must.

Consider Renting Outside of San Francisco

An estimated 80% of the tenants at StoragePro on Beale Street in San Francisco are able to walk to their units. For these individuals, access on foot is crucial and the ability to take things in and out of storage on a regular basis is a very real possibility. Think about how often you’re going to need to actually access your storage unit. Are you moving from a city where you could afford a larger home and therefore have furniture that doesn’t fit in your San Francisco apartment? Are you storing seasonal items like winter clothing and Christmas decorations? Are you a college student leaving stuff for summer vacation? Examples like these paint the picture of individuals who probably won’t be visiting their storage units every single day or even every single month. If this applies to you, consider seeking out storage in places like Alameda and Oakland. You should also keep these areas in mind if you’re looking to store an RV, boat or car as this type of storage is especially difficult to find inside San Francisco. Basically, if you want more size options, more amenity options and lower prices, expand your search to include outside of San Francisco. Think of it as a nice way of spending a little quality time with the Golden Gate Bridge.

San Francisco Climate and Storage

You’ve heard of that famous San Francisco fog, right? If not, don’t worry, his name is Karl and he totally has a Twitter and an Instagram because in San Francisco, everyone has a Twitter and an Instagram. Housing in San Francisco tends to be pricier if it’s in a sunnier, fog-free part of the city. If you’re looking for storage, this same rule doesn’t necessarily apply as most storage facilities offer indoor units which are significantly less susceptible to the woes of Bay Area weather. The main things that can affect your items in storage are drastic temperatures and moisture. Drastic temperatures aren’t a huge concern in San Francisco (though you can expect some super hot days and some surprisingly chilly ones) but that dreaded moisture certainly is. If your unit isn’t inside and you’re storing items that can rust like a nice bike or items that can get weathered like a painting or leather couch, consider climate control so that you can protect your investment from damage. Unlike southern California, San Francisco summers are known for being cooler and can often be damper than other seasons. This is important to remember if you’re a college student looking for somewhere to put your stuff once the time comes to move out of your dorm or apartment. If you’re struggling to figure out how to pay for storage on a student’s budget in a city that is decidedly not very budget friendly, consider going in on a storage unit with a friend. The cost of a storage unit should be much cheaper than the cost of your apartment, but we still think you should look for budget friendly solutions whenever possible anyway.